Horse meat: Romania names two slaughterhouses but denies any wrongdoing
Romanian authorities have revealed the names of the two companies under investigation for being the potential source of horse meat in readymeals across Europe, but insisted they had sold horse legitimately – and labelled correctly.
The two companies under investigation are catering company CarmOlimp in Transylvania and a meat processing plant owned by Doly-Com. Both export horse meat to other EU countries, but Romanian officials said last night their paperwork had revealed no foul play.
The horse meat found in readymeals made by French manufacturer Comigel – including Findus beef lasagne, two Aldi frozen readymeals and Tesco Everyday Value spaghetti Bolognese – is believed by French investigators to have come from Romania, via traders in Cyprus and the Netherlands, to French meat supplier Spanghero (owned by Poujol), which in turn sold it to Comigel’s Tavola factory in Luxembourg.
Doly-Com was reported by local press as saying it did not export horse to France but had sold horse to the Netherlands, Sweden and Bulgaria. CarmOlimp has also exported horse but said it did not export any beef at all in 2012 – proof, it claimed, that it could not be the source of horse mislabelled as beef. It added only an incompetent importer would have mistaken horse for beef.
This was echoed by Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta, who stressed the horse meat must have been mislabelled once it had left Romania. “I want to help catch the guilty ones,” he said. “We are victims of this fraud.”
However, Ponta has faced criticism in Romania for giving the two companies – and CarmOlimp in particular – the all-clear too quickly. CarmOlimp is owned by the family of Romania’s deputy minister of agriculture.
EU ministers are holding a meeting on the horse meat scandal on Wednesday.